Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, wants Nike to explain why the Mambacita sneakers she worked on to honor her daughter were released without her permission.
Bryant said in an Instagram post Thursday that she was upset that the black and white shoes, with the names “Kobe” and “Gigi” engraved on them, were released when neither she nor her other daughters received pairs.
Gianna Bryant – nicknamed “Mambacita” and “Gigi” – died in the helicopter crash that also killed her father, Kobe, in January 2020.
Vanessa Bryant had partnered with Nike on a deal to sell the shoes, she explained, but the partnership was thwarted when she failed to re-sign her husband’s contract with the sneaker giant.
The Mambacita shoes were not approved to be made in the first place, Bryant said on her Instagram account. “I don’t know how anyone else got their hands on shoes that I designed in honor of my daughter,” she said.
A Nike representative did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Bryant shared a photo of someone holding one of the shoes, which has the number 2 in gold on it. That was the number Gianna wore on her basketball uniform.
Some people said in the comments of Bryant’s post that a sneaker store called Footpatrol in the UK had released some pairs of shoes before.
Bryant launched her own Mambacita clothing line on May 1, with proceeds going to her nonprofit. May 1 would have been Gigi’s 15th birthday.